At the end of the spring semester the campus is filled with excitement as we round out the year with commencement activities. This year, more than 650 CALS students received undergraduate degrees at the ceremonies held on May 16 and 17. Another 80 students received graduate degrees at the Graduate Student Commencement.
Congratulations to our graduates and to the faculty, advisers, mentors, and those who contributed to the success of our graduates during their time here as students. I also want to thank the faculty and staff who helped in planning the commencement-related events.
On the afternoon of May 16, following the University Commencement, the college Outstanding Senior ceremony and reception was held. Stephanie Myrick was recognized as the 2014 College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Outstanding Senior for her exceptional academic achievement and leadership. Stephanie received her B.S. degree in applied economic management with minors in civic agriculture and food systems and leadership and social change. Other outstanding seniors were honored from each department in the college. We are pleased to welcome our new alumni.
Speaking of alumni, members of the Old Guard were on campus for their annual reunion the weekend of May 22-24. The Old Guard Reunion celebrates alumni with 50 or more years of alumni status. The college hosted a breakfast that was attended by 48 alumni and their guests, as well as 20 faculty representing administration, the departments, and the CALS Alumni Organization. We provided a college update as part of the morning program.
The Diversity Enhancement Awards ceremony was held earlier this month and two individuals in the college were recognized for their outstanding contributions and commitment to diversity initiatives. Honored were John Galbraith, associate professor of crop and soils and environmental sciences, and Brielle Wright, a master’s degree student studying agricultural and extension education. John was honored for being influential in resurrecting the Virginia Indian Pre-College Outreach Initiative, a program designed to increase college enrollment and retention for native peoples. Brielle established the VT Forward mentoring program, which develops mentorship opportunities for underrepresented graduate and undergraduate students.
Timothy Sands officially joined Virginia Tech as the new President on June 1. Earlier this spring, President Sands met with the college leadership team to learn more about the college. This past Friday, several of us provided him a tour and discussion of Kentland Farm and some off-campus facilities. On June 6, a university open house will be hosted in the Latham Ballroom at the Inn at Virginia Tech from 3-5 p.m. Please stop by to welcome Dr. Sands during his first week as Virginia Tech’s 16th president.